Aqua by Kozue Amano

Perhaps because I was never into sweet but vapid slice of life stories, Aqua did absolutely nothing for me (except bored me to sleep). We have beautiful drawings of incredibly stupid girls doing pretty much pointless things for really meaningless reasons. What am I missing here that makes Aqua/Aria so popular? This is a prequel story so I guess it is better suited for those who have seen/read Aria?

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Story: Akari arrives on Aqua – a Mars that has been terraformed to be a nouveau Venice. All she wants is to be an Undine – a canal boat rower. She will go through special training along with the other undines in the hopes of someday being a rower herself! Cue the owner of the business, a sentient cat who eats too much and tests her in weird ways. Add in more vapid but cute girls.

Soooooo…… canal boat rowers as a professional to tirelessly train for and aspire to? Because we are talking about bus drivers on water and I’m pretty sure it’s a nice job but not one that a young girl fantasizes about becoming the very best in doing? And of course, only pretty girls apply for the job, even though it’s serious business and I find it hard to believe these tiny girls are physically powerful enough to row upstream. Yes, sure, this is manga we are talking about. But really – what is the point here?

The art is serviceable and kind of reminds me of Angelic Layer by CLAMP. And the author does a nice job of setting up a tranquil atmosphere. There are no sharp edges here – life is about adventure and being the best you can be; in this case, prowess with a pole on a boat. Drama is clearly for other manga stories.

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